Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Cathedral of the Pines

Some posts are never completed in a timely manner. That was the case with one about a NH site that we visited last fall, but which never was posted about. We found that this site was amazingly beautiful for the views; but were saddened to learn the reason behind its creation. 

Cathedral of the Pines, Rindge, NH
Cathedral of the Pines is an open-air worship 
complex in Rindge, NH, located across 236 acres. It was created to honor the service of  American men and women, military and civilian. Contained on the grounds are sacred spaces, a multi-denominational sanctuary, and burial grounds

From its hilltop site, this wall-less cathedral commands a spectacular view of forested land highlighted by Mt. Monadnock at 3165 feet high. The grounds are open year round; visitors can freely explore from dawn to duskThe gift shop, museum and facilities are open May to October.

Since the mid 1940s, the property has served as a worship site for over 25 different religions. It's also hosted weddings, baptisms, and funerals. 
At the entrance are the Mother's Chapel and the Women's Memorial Bell Tower. A short walk leads to the main sanctuary and the site's highlight, the Altar of the Nations, which has the most commanding views and has been designated a national memorial to American war dead. The altar, lectern, and pulpit, are made entirely of stone, the benches are wooden.

A winding path leads to cemetery plots, additional open-air chapels, a garden, and standing stones with carved inscriptions from the Bible and other spiritual texts, including inscriptions in Hebrew. Several longer trails lead through the woods and to two nearby ponds.

The history behind this serene setting was the result of a WW II tragedy.

The Back Story
Sibyl and Douglas Sloane
In October 1935, Douglas and Sibyl Sanderson Sloane, were looking for a property, close to their Newtonville, MA, home. Unable to find a suitable one in MA, they looked next in NH and, in 1937, purchased a heavily wooded 128-acre property in Rindge. They thought that one or more of their four children, Douglas, Sanderson (Sandy), Margaret, and John (Jack), might build homes there.

One piece of the property included a narrow trail, surrounded by giant pines near a knoll. The trees were so thick that the overhead canopy blocked most of the sunlight. In 1938, after a hurricane swept through the property, the family gave lumbermen access to remove damaged trees. 

Months later, Douglas, Sibyl and Sandy Sloane hiked the knoll to view the storm's aftermath, damage and tree removal. Amazingly, they found that a panoramic view of Mt. Monadnock was now visible. Sandy selected the knoll as his future home site as it was just like a cathedral.

Lt. Sanderson (Sandy) Sloane
After the U.S. entered WW II, Sandy and Jack Sloane were accepted by the Army Air Corps. Sandy asked that nothing be done on the land; he wanted to be there to build his future home. He had married Margaret (Pegs) Allen soon after starting flight school. 

In 1943, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant and awarded his wings. After his commission to 1st lieutenant, he was assigned to pilot a B-17 bomber, that he named Peg-O-My-Heart. While being briefed for overseas duty he learned of the birth of Sandy, Jr.

Lt. Sloane had nearly flown enough missions on the B-17 bomber to qualify for home leave. 

That never happened. In February 1944, the entire B-17 crew died then the plane was shot down in mid-air and crashed in Germany. Lt. Sloane was 27 years old. His brother, Jack survived missions on a B-26 bomber and returned home safely. (Lt. Sloane was awarded the Air Medal with three clusters and the Purple Heart.)

Knoll site Sandy selected for a future home
In the summer of 1945, his family and friends visited Sandy’s knoll to clear away brush and
trees, and to plan for a memorial “cathedral” there. In August 1945, the family held the first service  which marks when the Cathedral of the Pines first began. Despite a rainstorm, the 127 neighbors and friends who had come, sat in their cars until it stopped, then stood under dripping pines to hold the first service. 

Word soon spread about the extraordinarily beautiful site as people asked to use the pine knoll for religious services. The Sloane family offered its use at no fee, a policy that continues to this day.

Because of this strong community response, the Sloane family decided to erect a permanent memorial on the property. The vision and the name, cathedral, was selected as a memorial to those fallen in service to the nation. The family welcomed people of all faiths, and developed the site into a series of outdoor chapels, gardens, and other memorials. 
Cathedral of the Pines views
As a further tribute to his son and war veterans of all faiths, Douglas Sloane undertook creation of The Altar of the Nation, now considered one of the most significant war memorials in the world. Sandy's widow, Pegs, selected the permanent site.
Altar of the Nation at Cathedral of the Pines
The Altar of the Nation was constructed in 1945-46. It includes stones from all 50 states and from every U.S. President since Harry Truman. Numerous stones come from the battlefields of WW I and WW II in Europe. There are tributes from the Pacific Theater of WW II with stones from Japan, the Coral Sea, and the shores of Iwo Jima, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. There's also a stone from the German town where Lt. Sloane’s plane went down. 
There is a stone from Plymouth Rock, MA, and stones from the battlefields of Lexington, Concord, and Yorktown where the American Revolution began and ended. Three stones from the Parthenon in Athens and a stone from the ancient Colosseum in Rome are also embedded in the altar. There's also a stone from the German town where Lt. Sloane’s plane was downed. In 1957, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives designated the Altar of the Nation as a national memorial to all American war dead. 

Three slabs of Verde Antique marble weighing more than half a ton each form the altar top. These came from a Maryland quarry that straddles the Mason Dixon line, the boundary separating the North and South during the Civil War. Soil from Mt Zion in Jerusalem is mixed into the mortar that binds the marble to the altar. The altar’s granite cross was quarried in Fitzwilliam, NH, and given by Lt. Sloane’s brothers in his memory. 
A few of the medallions on the pulpit 
A nearby lectern, topped by a natural stone in the likeness of an open book is dedicated to the memory of Lt Sloane’s B-17 bomber crew. It incorporates soils from many major battlefields of WW II, Appomattox, the Alamo, Jamestown, VA. The stone top was found in 1935 on a rocky shore near the Sloane's summer home in Lake George, NY. It was originally planned for use in an outdoor chapel on their Newtonville, MA, property. The altar's field stone pulpit, also built in 1946, is dedicated to the memory of the pioneers and men and women of Rindge, NH, who served their country. Medallions on the pulpit represent various veterans groups and fraternal organizations.

Ironically, some of the funds to build the Altar of the Nation came from the late Sandy Sloane. After he began playing high school football, his father was persuaded to take out a life and accident insurance policy. His father later offered Sandy the policy with premiums paid to date, and told him he could keep or cash it. Sandy told his father that if he continued paying the premiums, he'd appreciate the gift later. Little did he know how significant this gift would come years later.

Memorial Bell Tower and Tree of Life
The 55-foot tall Women’s Memorial Bell Tower is one of the property's most prominent features, certainly it's the tallest. The stone bell tower is dedicated to American women, both civilian and military. Built in 1965-66, it was dedicated in May 1966 and was the first memorial to recognize both military and civilian women American Women who have served the nation. 

The Tree of Life inside the tower was designed by Douglas Sloane and dedicated to all American nurses who lost their lives in service. It was designed to represent a woman’s backbone, courage, stamina, and determination. Twelve types of fruit hang from tree limbs: (breadfruit, pear, fig, peach, olive, orange, avocado, apple, lemon, cherry, pomegranate,  plum).

Four bronze plaques drawn by Norman Rockwell and sculpted by his son, Peter, adorn the exterior of the tower. Castings were done in Italy under Peter’s direction.
Four plaques on the Women's Memorial Bell Tower
The first plaque depicts five women in profile: the Sisters of Charity, the Salvation Army Lassie, the Entertainer, the War Correspondent, and the Riveter. The second plaque honors women nurses serving in the armed forces, depicts Clara Barton assisting a wounded soldier. A third plaque honors pioneer women. The final fourth plaque depicts women representing each of the five branches of the military: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

All the tower bells were donated: Carillonic English bells were given by the Kiwanis Clubs of New England. The Flemish bells and the Sheffield steel Angelus bell were also donated. A large 1,800 pound Sheffield steel bell was cast in 1866 by the Vickers Company in England, which for many years hung in the old City Hall tower in Keene, NH.

An onsite museum, the Peter J. Booras Museum holds service-related memorabilia. Booras was a successful Keene, NH, businessman, where his family ran a restaurant for years. A veteran himself, Booras was a loyal supporter of the cathedral who, in the 70s and 80s, brought upwards of 2,000 people to services at the cathedral.

The trunk of Lt. Sloane with letters to his wife and family photos
The museum has hundreds of artifacts that have been donated over the last 60 years. Two highlights are: Sandy’s footlocker containing dozens of letters that he wrote home to Pegs. There’s a display that features his younger brother, Jack, a B-26 pilot. The museum has some artifacts from WW I, but most are from WW II. It is believed to hold the second largest collection of purple heart medals worldwide.

Hilltop House at Cathedral of the Pines
The Hilltop House, built in 1949, for clergy, choirs and small services, was added onto in
1982. This addition accommodates up to 125 people for services or weddings during inclement weather. It serves as the visitor’s center as well. Here too, there's many stones and artifacts throughout the walls, including the Blarney Stone from Ireland and a stone from the death camp of Auschwitz.

There’s also a Mother’s Chapel honoring all mothers, a Ten Commandments monolith, the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel with Our Lady of Monadnock statue. The baptismal font built in 1948 is in memory of Sanderson Sloane, Jr., only child of Sanderson and Margaret Allen Sloane, who died from pneumonia in 1946 at the age of 3.

Gravesite of Lt. Sloane & son
The grave of Lt. Sloane and his son are located to the right of the Sloane Family Cemetery, the closest one to the altar. Douglas and Sibyl Sloane are buried in the family cemetery which is reserved for family members and trustees.

If you are ever in NH and want to visit, the address is: Cathedral of the Pines, 10 Hale Hill Road, Rindge, NH 03461

We are planning a return this spring.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

One Pan Short Ribs

As mentioned earlier, my ♥️ Day gift to Grenville was a cookbook, Simple One-Pan Wonders (Jamie Oliver). As much as we like dining out, we also enjoy home-cooked meals, plus this gift is longer lasting than candy or flowers. We have watched Oliver's show online and since Grenville had mentioned he wanted the accompanying book, it was a win-win surprise.

When I mentioned the book in that previous post, several folks commented that they would be interested in reading about any recipes tried from the book. Last weekend, we enjoyed the first of many future meals. 

The recipe is exactly as shown in the book. However, there were some changes in our home: Walnuts were omitted (we did not have any). Sweet potatoes replaced the white potatoes. Onion marmalade is not a pantry staple; Grenville found an online recipe. And, the recipe was halved.

That said, here's the first recipe chef Grenville prepared from Simple One-Pan Wonders.

Beef Short Ribs
Beef Short Ribs 
(Simple-One Pan Wonders)
Serves 6 / Prep 26 min / Cook 4 hours
  • 6 beef short ribs bone in (approx 3-1/2 lb)
  • 2 heads celery
  • 6 carrots (1-1/4 lb total)
  • 1-3/4 oz shelled walnuts
  • 6 oz onion marmalade or jam
  • 2 C smooth ale
  • 6 baking potatoes (3 lb)
  • creamed horseradish (to serve)
Preheat oven to 325℉.
Put a large shallow casserole pan on medium-high heat, and brown ribs all over, turning with tongs, for about 15 minutes. Trim the celery using a vegetable peeler to remove stringy outsides. Chop off the bottom 5 inches of each and cut lengthways into quarters, finely slice the remaining stalks, reserving any nice leaves. Peel the carrots and leave whole.

Once ribs are browned, remove to a bowl. Put all the celery and carrots into the pan with the walnuts and onion marmalade, toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Pour in 2-1/2 cups of water and the ale, then nestle the ribs back into the pan, making sure they’re submerged. Cover with a sheet of damp parchment paper. Roast 4 hours, or until the meat easily pulls away from the bone, basting halfway.

Scrub the potatoes, prick all over with a fork and bake alongside the ribs for the last 1 hour and 30 minutes. Skim any fat off ribs, remove bones, and serve with dollops of horseradish, sprinkled with any reserved celery leaves and potatoes on the side.

Fat 32.2g / Sat Fat: 12.2g / Protein 32.3g / Carbs 66.4g / sugars 28.6g / Salt 0.9g / Fiber 7.6g

Our recipe rating was a definite two forks up and will be on a future dinner menu. 😋
Grenville, a well pleased chef

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Something Fishy

That describes our weekend outing on a NH day trip despite an overcast and chilly day. The weather wasn't a factor. We were in the car to and from and then inside this building.
Our destination was the 
Seacoast Science Center (SSC) in Rye, NH, slightly over an hour's drive from Nashua, NH. Located on the rocky coast in Odiorne Point State Park, the SSC is the primary facility here. 

This marine education, recreation, and science resource is dedicated to inspiring active conservation. It features aquariums, indoor touch tanks, interactive exhibits, and a marine mammal rescue center. Naturalist-led programs and events that teach about the importance of the marine environment and conservation are offered for children and adults.

If your local library offers discounted museum passes, it's a good idea to check if one you're planning to visit is listed. Here, the Nashua Public Library offered a 50% discount on 2 adult admissions. We saved on the cost of one senior admission cost ($8 each). As with many of the museum passes, it was printable on a home printer.
Immediately after entering the SCC, we entered the 
Marine Mammals of the Gulf of Maine exhibit. The feature here is the overhead skeleton of Tofu, a 32-foot juvenile humpback whale, that migrated into the coastal waters of New England and was believed to be struck by a ship in June 2007. This was before shipping lanes were changed to protect humpback whales.

The imposing skeleton hangs above an interactive station that teaches the ecology of humpback whales, whale evolution, behaviors, and conservation efforts. A video kiosk shows how buoys are monitoring whales in the Gulf of Maine and how this data is being used to help protect them.

Another exhibit, The Dynamic Gulf of Maine, showed the effects of climate change on the Gulf as it warms faster than most of the world’s oceans, impacting many species. For some, too warm conditions are shrinking their geographic range. For other, the warming provides an opportunity to expand into an area that was previously too cold. These changes affect the lobster and sea bass commercial fishing industries. Aquariums in the Gulf of Maine exhibit hall feature fascinating native species, including this rare blue lobster
There was no doubt that the most popular exhibit was The Edge of the Sea where the Indoor Tide Pool Touch Tank interactive exhibit included three saltwater tanks that are home to a variety of intertidal animals and seaweeds. 

Seacoast Science Center naturalist with touch tank inhabitant
A naturalist was available to assist visitors who had the chance to hold sea stars, sea urchins, hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs and other marine life. Many of these live on the rocky shores just outside the center's door. We declined participation as there was an overflow of children.
The Restoring Reefs exhibits detailed the importance of coral reef systems that are home to over a quarter of all marine species, including fish, mollusks, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and birds. This exhibit featured large tanks that included coral, anemones, and clownfish (think Nemo). Reef systems are vital to humans as well, providing food, shoreline protection, jobs, oxygen, and water filtration services, but coral reefs are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. 

Photo credit: Seacoast Science Center
The SSC also has a Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR) and staffs a 24/7 hotline. The MMR responds to all reports of live (healthy, injured, sick) and deceased seals, whales, porpoises, and dolphins that haul out or strand on the shore in NH and northern MA. 

The MMR conducts health assessments and triage and also conducts postmortem exams and rehabilitation facilities care for and release animals.

Here's a photo of my personal favorite, a skate fish, also called “skate wings” and other names. Importantly, a skate is not a ray, and the two families of fish have very notable differences.
Skate fish, top and bottom (smiling) view
The SCC isn't the only attraction that draws visitors to Odiorne Point State Park, a public recreation area located on the Atlantic seacoast in the town of Rye near Portsmouth, NH. Odiorne got its name from the Odiorne family, who settled on the land in the mid-1660s. 

Internet source: Ft Dearborn WW II
From 1942 to 1947, the park was the site of Fort Dearborn named for Henry Dearborn, who was a major-general in the Revolutionary War, later Commanding General of the US Army and Secretary of War. The park still includes many remains of this WW II fortification. 

In years past, affluent families came to Odiorne to enjoy the summer. The property was home to dozens of cottages, one of which became the elegant Sagamore House, a hotel that attracted such notable figures as Cornelius Vanderbilt.  The site was private, expensive oceanfront before 1942 when the Federal Government sent letters to residents they had 30 days to relocate; Homes were demolished; Route 1-A, the state's coastal roadway was closed. Barbed wire was strung along a “dead line” to prevent access from the marsh creeks. Some 265 acres were condemned for the construction of a fort as part of a modernization of US coastal defenses.

Ft Dearborn Remains 
The fort was part of the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth, NH, along with Fort Stark, Fort
Constitution, and Fort Foster. In 1940-1944 the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth were garrisoned by the 22nd Coast Artillery Regiment. The first battery at Fort Dearborn, Battery Dearborn, consisted of four 155 mm towed guns on Panama mounts, circular concrete platforms. In 1948, Fort Dearborn was deactivated; all guns were scrapped, but the platforms remain today to the fascination of park visitors. 

In 1961, the Federal government transferred 137 acres to the state of NH for $91,000 provided that that the land would be used for public recreation. Previous owners were not given the chance to re-purchase the land. An earlier law had stated that once the government was done with the land, it would be sold back to its owners. But, the law changed between 1942 and the late 1950s when the federal government was done using Odiorne Point. Picnic areas. The park opened to the public in July 1972. 

The modern SCC building was built around the only remaining summer home to survive the conversion to Fort Dearborn, the stone Sugden House. Like the other confiscated properties at Odiorne Point, the house was not returned to its owners after the war but given to the state of New Hampshire.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Friday Funnies

Humor can be found in many places, including signage, and since I'm always on the lookout for some to share, here's a few entertaining ones.
It seems this one can be taken two ways, depending on whether you're a walker or a motorist😀 
There were no unattended children by this sign, which was spotted at the Clark's Bears, NH, attraction we visited last fall.
There was no doubt about what was not allowed in this area. Could things be made any clearer than this wording? This sign was seen outside a Manchester, NH, regional airport building, which was not a passenger pickup area, but an administration facility.
This one might make one wonder if some medical professionals needed another job. 

Thanks to everyone for the ♥️ day well wishes. Hope you all have a nice day. Glad that several enjoyed the backstory on how we selected our blog aliases (Beatrice and Grenville). 

Ours was a low-key celebration as we dined at home and avoided the traditional gift of candy. 

But, there was this surprise gift as I gave Grenville (Patrick) this recent book. He was planning to buy after we watched recent episodes of Jamie Oliver preparing some of the recipes on Acorn streaming. One pan and simple recipes, what's not to like😋

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
We may take a day trip, destination unknown yet 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

It's ♥️ Day

There is only one happiness in life —to love and be loved (George Sand)
The above illustration on a Valentine's card shows two Boyds Bears whose names, Beatrice and Grenville, are very familiar to regular readers of this blog. The card was almost an identical representation of the actual figurine of this fictional couple, shown below. 
These names are just a couple of the ones assigned to the many Boyds Bears figurines and stuffed teddy bears. Since we owned several of the figurines, we borrowed their names when we began our blog. Like Beatrice and Grenville, we are Best Friends

Of course, in the years since, we've included our actual names, Dorothy and Patrick, in blog posts. Still, many fellow bloggers refer to us by our selected aliases, which is OK with us.
We're not sure how or where we first came upon this ageless senior couple, but, in the years since, we have amassed a small collection, all of which reside on a LR bookcase. Despite extensive online searches, I could find no information on how these bears were named.
While we don't know how our Boyds Bears counterparts are celebrating today, we're not exchanging gifts, buying chocolates or dining out. 

Instead, what we're doing is going to the Nashua library for an afternoon matinee of the 2022 romantic-comedy film, Ticket to Paradise, the latest film in the library's recent releases program. Tonight, we'll dine at home by candlelight, like we do most nights.

Nothing fancy for sure, but for us, it's the best way for best friends to celebrate—together.

However, you & your special someone are spending today, 
we wish you ♥️

Friday, February 10, 2023

Friday Funnies

A single caption came to mind for this photo . . . Feel free to add your own in the comments
Dinner Time Back-Up
This photo of assorted goats was taken at the Farm of the Mountain View Grand during our Thanksgiving stay this past November. (The fourth one in from the left is not pregnant, but just "plump" we were told.)  When the Dodge family hosted their first guests in 1865, Mountain View was a working farm producing much of its own food. It remains a working farm today; hotel guests can view the farm area. The animals are popular with the youngest visitors and many adults, like us.

What a difference a week makes; this forecast is much warmer than last weekend. 
Hope the weather is getting better in your area too — despite Punxsutawney Phil's forecast of six more weeks of winter.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Grenville and I are recovering from colds, once again
(Yes, we tested for that other "C" word and flunked it)

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

It was Cold

It was frigid cold outside on my 🎂 birthday this past weekend. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes, all were much appreciated. I played dominoes with friends and we went for dinner on Sat eve. It was a very low-key celebration. 🎉 

Cold here in Nashua, NH was daytime highs in the single digits and overnight in the minus teens. But nowhere near some other places, especially Mount Washington, NH. There it was minus 108 F wind chill, 97 MPH winds, which is likely the lowest ever recorded in the country. That's really cold 🥶

Aside from the biting cold across a lot of the nation, there was another event last week in the U.S. On Tuesday, the country's most famous marmot saw his shadow Thursday morning after leaving his burrow at Gobbler's Knob. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't, spring comes early. (Groundhogs are a type of rodent known as a marmot, marmots are closely related to squirrels, yet squirrels have never forecast the weather.)

Internet source
Phil,  a furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town, saw his shadow which means that the country can expect below-average temperatures for the next six week, that is, if you subscribe to the legend of a furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town and Phil's weather-predicting abilities. 

Phil made the prediction at Gobbler's Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil's "inner circle" summoned him from his tree stump to learn if he would see his shadow.

Internet source
On Feb 2, t
he nation awaited to see what he would predict, and, with a bit of human prodding, Phil came out of his burrow about 7:30 am and saw his shadow for the 137th time in front of a large Groundhog Day crowd. 

Phil made his prediction after speaking with Groundhog Club president Tom Dunkel who translated the prediction for the world. Yes, there is a Groundhog Club. It was established in 1887 and a website details all Groundhog Day events, including lunch with Phil and a Groundhog Day ball and banquet, who knew?

But, while Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction forecasts more winter weather, on Groundhog Day, it depends on who you want to believe. Phil is not the only groundhog forecaster as there are several others, it's just that Phil is the most well known.

For example, there's, Staten Island Chuck who did not see his shadow and therefore, signaling an early spring. And, another groundhog, Lady Edwina at the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, NJ sided with Phil. 

Predictions aside, Punxsutawney Phil has been making his long-range winter forecast the longest, since 1887.  Staten Island Chuck only joined the forecasting game in 1981. The newest member of the four-legged weather crew, Lady Edwina, is the youngest and most recent weather forecaster at just over 2 years old. When it comes to accuracy, Punxsutawney Phil isn't that accurate, while Staten Island Chuck has been right 80% of the time. You can choose which one to believe if you are so included, as for myself, not at all.

Last week, we continued a long-standing tradition by watching the 1993 film, Ground Hog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell. If you have never seen this movie, you should watch it someday. Bill Murray's character relives the day over and over again. It's a true classic. Spoiler alert, the movie was filmed in Woodstock, Ill, although the actual Punxsutawney, PA, holds annual festivals. This shooting location was close to the hometown of film director Harold Ramis, whose family lived in Chicago, IL.

Internet source
Of course, Phil's prediction came as many areas were dealing with a major winter storm and frigid temps. Of the 127 recorded times Phil has predicted the weather, he has now seen his shadow 107 times (or 84% of the time). His longest streak of seeing his shadow remains at 31, when he saw it every year from 1903 to 1933.
Ice on the Nashua River this weekend
The Nashua River below our living room window had its first coating of ice this past weekend. Temps are warming up this week and so the ice will be gone in a couple more days.

Speaking of cold, I am dealing with yet another head cold, the second one this year. Once again tissues are close at hand and I'm staying home. Hope that you are all staying well.
Internet source

Canon Powershot G7 Mark III
As to what I bought myself for my  birthday, it's a camera, which may come as no surprise. Now, I have to learn how to best use it before we travel later this year. The camera was bought refurbished on the Canon website. Good Great news is that it includes a 1-year manufacturer's warranty. An added 2 or 4 year protection plan can also be purchased at additional cost within 90 days, most likely I will get that. Purchasing this camera refurbished on the Canon website was a significant saving over new on other sites. 
Your turn — Do you buy yourself gifts too ?

Friday, February 3, 2023

Celebrate the Day

My toddler portrait
No Friday Funnies today because today is my 🎂. 

It's my belief that a birthday celebration isn't one day, but the whole year. So, let the fun begin 🎉  in this long-ish post since it is MY special day, indulge me, once again.

In Roman numerals, my birthdate is III.II.MCMXLIX in the traditional American/Western style and formatted in the order of month-day-year (02-03-1949). Today, my birthday is a play on numbers, 02-03-2023.

I'm part of the generation born after the end of WW II as birth rates worldwide. The early 1940s were dominated by war. The war's end was the start Baby Boomer years with technology advancements like the jet engine, nuclear fusion, radar, rocket technology, space exploration and improved air travel. 

The 1940s famously introduced the Slinky, Velcro, Jeep, Tupperware and Frisbee. Featured inventions included the jet engine, the computer, the microwave oven, kitty litter, and the Crash Test Dummy.

Here's some interesting trivia about the year 1949: 
  • The Candy Land (board game) was introduced after being designed by retired school teacher Eleanor Abbott, while she was recovering from polio in San Diego, CA. She created it to entertain hospitalized children who had the same disease
  • Car ignition keys were introduced; before that, only door locks provided security 
  • First animated TV cartoon series, Crusader Rabbit, ran from 1949 to 195
  • First credit card was issued and made out of cardboard. Diners Club co-founder Frank McNamara was dining with clients and had forgotten his wallet. He designed a multipurpose charge card as a way to avoid future embarrassments. 
  • Charles Lubin's small chain of Community Bake Shops became the Kitchens of Sara Lee, named after his daughter
  • Minimum wage went from 40 to 75 cents in October
  • Price of a gallon of gas in 1949: 22 cents —a bargain today
  • Harvard raised its tuition to more than $500 a year — YIKES!
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize
  • 1984 by George Orwell was first published in June 1949
  • The HOLLYWOOD sign originally read HOLLYWOODLAND to advertise a new housing development until the last four letters were removed in 1949
  • Since its 1949 debut, the Les Paul Gibson ES-175 guitar has never been out of production
  • The City of Los Angeles bought Van Nuys airport for $1 (not sure why?)
  • Frank J. Zamboni patented the Model A Zamboni Ice Resurfacer
  • Due to the Retail Gasoline Act of 1949 * you can't pump your own gas in NJ
  • The White House was completely gutted and the inside rebuilt from the ground up from 1949-52. After decades of poor maintenance, the building was in danger of collapsing and forced then President Harry Truman to move out and commission the rebuild
  • Biggest 1949 Christmas gifts were: Silly Putty, Candy Land, Kewpie dolls, Cootie, Clue, Bouncing Putty, Wind-up Clacking "Talking Teeth"
* As a NJ native who never pumped gas, I wondered why? In 1949, Congress passed a statute, the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act, which prohibited gas retail customers from pumping their own gas. Today, NJ is the lone state to maintain this law by requiring a professional to pump gas, anywhere. Oregon is the only other state with a full-service law since 1951. Oregon’s laws, which are far less strict, allow certain parts of the state to have self-service gas stations.

My Thursday, Feb 3 birthdate, which was the 34th day of the year in 1949 and it was the fifth Thursday of that year to date.There were 331 days left until year end. 

The next time, a calendar will match up to a 1949 calendar will be in 2033 when both calendars will be exactly the same.

Financially, saving 50 cents daily from age 7, would have amounted to $12,234 today, (no info on whether that included interest). This amount didn't seem large, but I can recall only saving pennies in my childhood...if I had only known to save high coin amounts.

My zodiac sign is Aquarius ♒ (the water-bearer) and it's well known thanks to a popular song by the 5th Dimension. 

Fifty years ago on March 15, 1969, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In hit the Top 40 chart, reached No. 1 in April, and remained on the chart for 16 weeks. 
Since it's one of my favorite tunes and my birthday astrological sign, I hope you enjoy this throwback listen to the wonderful vocalizations of Marilyn McCoo, Florence LaRue, Billy Davis, Jr., Lamonte McLemore, and Ronald Townson.

Sadly, my 10th birthday in 1959, is known as The Day the Music Died (immortalized in singer Don McLean's 1971 epic American Pie song). That's when a plane crash took the lives of R&R legends Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), Ritchie Valens; and pilot Roger Peterson near Moorhead, MN. Holly had chartered the plane because he was frustrated with tour bus conditions, traveling in freezing temps for hours at a time. The day before had been the 11th stop on a 24-city road tour in as many days -- with no days off.

Purple is my favorite color, so lucky for me that the February birthstone is amethyst. Bloodstone is the mystical birthstone from Tibetan origin that dates back over a thousand years. 

This purple quartz was used by ancient Greeks to ward off the tempting powers of Bacchus (also known as Dionysus), the god of intoxication and ecstasy. The amethyst was believed to make the wearer clear-headed, bringing clarity and awareness (really?)

February birthdays are represented by violets and irises, both suggest loyalty and faithfulness. The three upright petals of an iris bloom can indicate courage, faith, wisdom, or friendship, hope and compliments. The violet, symbolizes modesty. According to Greek mythology, violets were created when one of Artemis’ nymphs, (all sworn to stay maidens) was being pursued by her twin brother, Apollo. To protect the nymph, Artemis transformed her into a violet, which led to the violet becoming a symbol of modesty. In the Victorian era, a gift of violets (or primroses) was a declaration of love.

A total of 27,024 days have elapsed since my birth until today. If I had been sleeping 8 hours daily daily, I would have slept a total of 9,008 days or 24.66 years. That's equal to spending 33% of my life sleeping. 

A full moon has occurred 915 times from my birth until today. The next visible full moon will be this weekend on Sunday, February 5.

Something new to me was the significance of my February 3, 1949 birth date;  the birthday numbers 2, 3, and 1949 reveal a Life Path Number of 1, which represents initiative, potential and singularity. 

Not a photo shy child
A Life Path Number is similar to a Sun Sign in astrology and  includes strengths, weaknesses, talents, and ambitions. Celebrities with the same life path number as myself include: Philip Jackson, Kasumi Arimura, Tom Hanks, Sagi Kalev, Jessica Tovey, Leman Sam, Maki Goto, Steven Wilson, Herbert Léonard, Nikki Sixx. If you're not familiar with many of these names, we're in the same ballpark as myself.

As many long-time blog readers know, Beatrice is a blog alias and my given name is Dorothy. Curious as to the popularity of that name in 1949, an online search showed it was not at the top of popular baby names. In February 1949, Linda was given to 91,016 baby girls; James was given to 86,855 baby boys. Other top female and male names that year were Mary-Robert, Patricia-John, Barbara-William, and Susan-Michael

My late father selected my name. Dorothy ranked #32, is a less common variant of Dorothea. It was one of the top 10 most popular names for girls in the U.S. between 1904 and 1940. It remained in the top 100 most popular names until 1961. 

Evelyn Knight
Curious about the No. 1 top song on Feb 3, 1949, an online search showed it was performed by Evelyn Knight and the Stardusters, a male vocal group that performed with some of the leading 1940s Big Bands. 
Knight was an American singer who, during a seven-year span in the late 1940s and 1950, had two No. 1 hits and 13 that made the Top 40. Knight recorded Powder Your Face with Sunshine which went to No.1. In 1948, she had a hit record, Buttons and Bows.

Here's the #1 pop song on my 1949 birth date, A Little Bird Told Me recorded by Evelyn Knight and the Stardusters. (Sorry, in advance, for any ear worms from this song and the Aquarius tune.)
This song was the top hit as of January 1949, stayed at the top of the charts for 7 weeks, and remained on the charts for a total of five months. 

Birthday Celebration? This year's will include a movie and lunch next week. Later in the month, there's a road trip here in NH to meet up with visiting long-time NJ friends. And, just because I could, there's a birthday gift to myself; show and tell in a future post. Do you treat yourself on your special day?

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Today will be frigid 🥶🧊 — single digits overnight, ice cream, anyone?